Monday 12th September – I cried myself to sleep last night; just thinking about going to work today had upset me so much I was dreading it. I know lots of people don’t necessarily like or enjoy their work but this goes beyond the normal concerns people have. The impending fear of doom and overwhelming anxiety building up to going in is making me ill. When I’m there the ‘normal’ clock watching waiting for my break and home time are beyond normal; I literally cannot wait to get out of there, the desire to go home is so strong.
When I decided to go back to work, following my crisis, I thought I was making the right decision. I wasn’t getting any help yet, but I needed some ‘normality’. Returning to work, slowly, seemed to be the right step. Of course I was nervous, anxious and all the rest of the feelings you have when making a big step, but I wasn’t ‘dreading’ it. It went as well as it could, non-one was funny with me, and there were no extra pressures. After a couple of weeks I increased my hours, I wasn’t feeling ‘useful’ enough and knew that although it was a phased return getting back to full time wasn’t going to be a lengthy process, at my pace yes but still a matter of a few months rather than a longer period. Despite how well it seemed to be going I felt anxious every day I was due to go in, I tried to ignore it and thought it was a normal way to feel after being off for a while. But, it didn’t get better, it got worse. I was so relieved when my holiday came up because it meant I didn’t have to go in for 3 weeks.
After my holiday the anxiety about going in was stronger than ever, I felt nauseous just thinking about it. Then I went in; on arrival I had a chat with my boss and having agreed that I wasn’t ready for a further increase in hours she referred me back to occupational health so the y could reassess my phased return as I wouldn’t be back to full time by the end of September as they originally suggested… I went to get on with my work and was stopped by another senior member of staff who wanted my induction pack completed – this made me a little anxious as it had been the last thing on my mind, I had been so busy focusing on just trying to get the hang of being back at work, now I have till the end of the month to get this done. It was supposed to have been done when I first started back in April, but non-one had gone through it with me, then my crisis occurred meaning I couldn’t do it and when I returned I hadn’t even thought about it. I agreed to look at it then went to get on with work. Another senior member of staff spoke to me briefly then I went to help bring a patient round from A&E. Upon my return my boss came ver and asked to have a word with me. Taking me into the office she said ‘A member of staff has reported smelling alcohol on your breath, so I just need to ask have you been drinking?’ I was dumbfounded, I’d been there 10 minutes, spoken to 2 people other than the boss and all this had happened, how, what, why? I hadn’t been drinking and told her as much. To be fair she did say that she was a bit surprised at the accusation herself, having just spoke to me minutes before and not having noticed a smell of alcohol, but she apologised that obviously she had to check. I said I understood that completely, but was just shocked that someone might think I smelt like I’d been drinking. I went off to get back on with my work but inside I felt like bursting into tears and just walking out – I didn’t I put on my ‘I’m ok’ mask and pretended nothing had happened whilst inside feeling like someone was out to get me, someone must really dislike me to make such a nasty unfounded allegation, and as I’d only spoken to 2 people it was pretty clear who it might be… I got through the day somehow but the relief to leave was greater than ever.
When I was next due in the my anxiety way through the roof, I had struggled to sleep the night before, and really wanted to find any reason at all not to go in, but I went. Another member of staff mentioned my induction pack again, but otherwise the day was uneventful, other than my constant desire to run away from the place! The next day I was off and late in the afternoon I received a call from the boss asking why I wasn’t in that day and hadn’t been on the Tuesday as well – apparently someone had put my name on the rota so it looked like I was due to be in all 5 days, when I was still only doing 3 days, so this added to my anxiety about the whole situation. Then the next morning I called up tax credits to sort out the fact that I would now be sticking with 15 hours a week for the foreseeable future only to be told this meant I was no longer entitled to tax credits – great my income goes down and my top up goes completely!? How does that work? I think this was probably the straw that broke the camels back so to speak as I now felt nauseous and had to rush to the toilet – but I didn’t connect the dots between my physical symptoms and my emotional state at the time. I called my boss and told her about my ‘upset’ stomach as I wasn’t sure if I should go into work at a hospital with a possibility it might something contagious, and she agreed it was best if I didn’t come in. It was later that evening when my stomach settled and mind started working correctly that I realised that as I had barely eaten anything it couldn’t be food that had upset my stomach, and it couldn’t be a bug or anything sinister as it was clearing up just hours later I concluded it must be a physical manifestation of my emotional state.
I tried to put it out of my mind for the weekend, somewhat successfully but by Sunday night the dreads were returning with a vengeance, I was starting to panic about going in today. I spoke to my friend and my fiancée about my concerns and came up with a plan; I would speak to my boss about it as soon as I arrived at work today and sort out how to handle things. Having a plan helped me settle a little but I still cried myself to sleep, feeling such a failure and hating myself for getting so wound up about going to work.
I got up this morning not feeling too bad as my plan gave me a reason to get in and sort things out. I thought I should just call and check the boss was in as I didn’t want to turn up and panic if she wasn’t there for me to speak to. I was told she wouldn’t be in until the afternoon and began panicking again – what do I do now; I need to sort this out. After flapping for a while I decided to get an appointment with GP, so called them up. I managed to get a brief telephone appointment and the GP advised me to collect a self-certification form from the surgery and take that to work while I waited for the first available proper appointment on Wednesday morning. So i did, I took the form in and left a note asking the boss to call me when she arrived. The feeling of relief after doing this was indescribable; however as is typical with BPD the relief was short lived as I then began to berate myself and feel even more useless and a failure that I can’t even handle 15 hours a week at work – what a waste of space I am. Yet, at the same time I knew that this was the best thing, nip it in the bud before it makes me even more ill – then I’d be no good to anybody! The boss called me when she got into work and was very understanding about it, offering to get my occupational health appointment for the end of the month bought forward as much as she can get it and wishing me well. This just made me feel even worse as I felt like I was letting her down.
So now I’m off again. Maybe I went back too soon? It felt right at the time, but this just shows how ill I still am, and why would I expect anything more, it’s not like I’ve had any real help yet – a couple of private therapy sessions with a focus on information gathering so not really ‘doing’ anything yet, and nothing else at all… I guess I should just focus on getting well and play it by ear for a while and see what happens…
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- Is it normal to worry 24 hours a day? (zocdoc.com)
- My Personal Story About Anxiety, Part One (counselorcarmella.wordpress.com)
- Anxious Positivity (gypsy116.wordpress.com)
- Constant career changes – the BPD unstable sense of self and identity (showard76.wordpress.com)
- Returning to work after a BPD crisis (showard76.wordpress.com)
- *Trigger* – Thinking about self-harm (showard76.wordpress.com)
- How do I live with Borderline Personality Disorder? (showard76.wordpress.com)
- Abandonment and the Borderline Personality (showard76.wordpress.com)